A Kuwait City court has acquitted writer and journalist Mohamed Abdel Qader Al-Jassem on charges of defamation, inciting the government’s overthrow and attacking the emir’s status in blog entries critical of the government (www.aljasem.org) and in the three books he has written about Kuwaiti politics.
“This is a great day for all those who expressed their solidarity with Al-Jassem’s battle for free expression in Kuwait,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The national and international campaign has borne fruit. We share his family’s relief in knowing that justice has been done and we call for the charges still pending against him to be dropped.”
Al-Jassem was very critical of Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Sabah Al-Ahmed, and Kuwaiti businessman Mahmoud Haydar in his controversial articles and public statements. Charged several times in recent months, he has repeatedly been detained and released on bail, while the prosecutions brought against him have been marked by irregularities.
His health is poor after undergoing several heart operations and he had to be hospitalised during his last period in detention in May and June, when he went on hunger strike.
Another charge against him is to be heard on 20 September. His lawyers have appealed against a court decision to fine him 2,000 Kuwaiti dinars (about 6,000 euros): http://en.rsf.org/koweit-journalist-mohamed-al-jassem-28-06-2010,37826.html
100712 - Court quashes Al-Jassem defamation conviction
Reporters Without Borders hails a Kuwait City appeal court’s decision today to overturn Kuwaiti writer and journalist Mohamed Abdel Qader Al-Jassem’s conviction on a charge of defaming Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Sabah.
“The ruling quashing Al-Jassem’s conviction is an important step for free expression in Kuwait,” Reporters Without Borders said. “We now call for all other charges against him to be withdrawn and the lifting of the reporting ban on the other case currently pending against him.”
Today’s ruling overturned Al-Jassem’s conviction on 1 April for criticising government policy and calling for the prime minister’s resignation.
Convicted in other case of defamation and “attacking the interests of the emir and national interests,” Al-Jassem was released on bail on 28 June pending the outcome of his latest appeal after being held for 49 days (http://en.rsf.org/koweit-journalist-mohamed-al-jassem-28-06-2010,37826.html). His latest appeal is due to be heard on 20 September.
30.06.2010 - Authorities maintain reporting ban on Al-Jassem case
Prosecutor Hamed Al-Othman yesterday asked the information ministry to maintain a reporting ban on the case of journalist Mohamed Abdel Qader Al-Jassem, who is due to be tried on 20 September. The request was made the day after a Kuwait City criminal court released Al-Jassem on bail.
The ban has been in force since 24 May, when the justice ministry sent a directive to the information ministry forbidding both broadcast and print media to carry any reports about the proceedings against him (http://en.rsf.org/koweit-journalist-mohammed-abdel-qader-al-21-06-2010,37471.html).
Reporters Without Borders reiterates it condemnation of the news blackout imposed by the Kuwaiti authorities, which is unworthy of a country that claims to be a democracy. The media should be free to cover any and all subjects without any government control of their editorial policies.
28.06.2010 - Journalist Mohamed Al-Jassem released on bail
Reporters Without Borders hails Kuwaiti lawyer and journalist Mohammed Abdel Qader Al-Jassem’s release by a criminal court today after 49 days in detention on politically-motivated charges of attacking national unity and defaming the prime minister.
“We are very relieved to learn of Al-Jassem’s release, even if it is conditional, as his detention was utterly unjust,” Reporters Without Borders said. “We continue to call for the complete withdrawal of the charges against him, as all he did was express a personal opinion verbally and in writing. This would enhance Kuwait’s stature.”
In today’s hearing, his defence lawyers and doctors were able to tell the court that Al-Jassem’s health had deteriorated since his arrest on 11 May for posting blog entries critical of government policy.
His lawyers have appealed against the court’s decision to require payment of bail of 2,000 dinars (6,000 euros). Another hearing has been set for 20 September.
Both Al-Jassem’s arrest and his detention were marked by many procedural irregularities (http://en.rsf.org/koweit-journalist...).